The best books with pictures that say a thousand words

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by color since childhood. I am not a very talkative person by nature and have always found that I communicate well through my illustrations. I have worked both as an illustrator and graphic designer. Through combining illustration with design, I learnt that I have the knack for distilling a complex idea into a simple image, or series of images. My illustrations combine visual trickery with simplicity, designed to make you think and smile. When my children were young, I decided to create picture books like this. The books in this list do the same. I hope you enjoy them!


I wrote...

Magic Colors

By Patrick George,

Book cover of Magic Colors

What is my book about?

This is a book about colors and color mixing. It is also a book full of surprises with ‘magic’ transparent pages. Its aim is to show today’s younger generation that you don’t need an iPad to create magical effects. If this book were designed on an iPad, it wouldn’t have the same impact as it does on paper. By combining a transparent page and a paper page, I show what happens when you mix two colors and also how a picture can magically change simply by flipping over a transparent page onto a paper one. It is like tapping a screen and watching the image change, instead we do it with paper.

The books I picked & why

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Cockatoos

By Quentin Blake,

Book cover of Cockatoos

Why this book?

As a young boy, I always loved Quentin Blake. Although Quentin Blake’s style is very different from mine, I have always admired how much expression and humor he can convey in so few marks. 

This book taught me that you can learn to count in a fun way, with a story that is not ostensibly about counting, but actually, that is what you end up doing. I love the element of surprise on each page. I have always loved books that challenged me through pictures, making me spot differences or hidden elements on the page.


Elephant Elements

By Francisco Pittau, Bernadette Gervais,

Book cover of Elephant Elements

Why this book?

This is a funny book that teaches opposites. Each page has an elephant on it - ‘wide’ elephant, ‘narrow’ elephant for example. I like its simplicity and humor and the illustrative style. Its design is quite minimalistic but the pictures speak for themselves and it provides a different take on the usual books of opposites. Kids love humor and learn well from it, I think.


The Bad-Tempered Ladybird

By Eric Carle,

Book cover of The Bad-Tempered Ladybird

Why this book?

I love all books by Eric Carle. I read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to my children when they were young, as well as The Very Quiet Cricket, which is a firm favourite. This book is very funny and plays with paper, design, and type. It is brightly coloured and his inimitable illustrative style is fantastic. Using different paper sizes, flaps, die-cuts, etc. has always interested me and makes story time fun for kids too.


Where's Walrus?

By Stephen Savage,

Book cover of Where's Walrus?

Why this book?

This picture book has no words in it. It is all about the picture. Of all the books on my list, it is perhaps most like my style because the illustrations are very simple, using blocks of colour and few lines. The walrus on each page often looks like something else, making the reader look twice to make sure they’ve seen it correctly. The visual trickery is so well-done and provides a great source of amusement and admiration for the reader.


Press Here

By Herve Tullet,

Book cover of Press Here

Why this book?

Hervé managed to have more success with this book than the app with the same title, I believe. I think this is because, by obeying a series of instructions - tapping, blowing, or shaking the book, for example, you appear to make the dots move. When you turn the page, the dots are where you ‘put’ them. Again, the colours and imagery are simple but the overall effect is very clever and a bit magical. My book transports the mind and makes magic connections in the same way.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in colors, brothers, and India?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about colors, brothers, and India.

Colors Explore 11 books about colors
Brothers Explore 52 books about brothers
India Explore 243 books about India

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like What Mary Jo Shared, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, and Imagining the Unimaginable: World War, Modern Art, and the Politics of Public Culture in Russia, 1914-1917 if you like this list.